Ikilikian is an Armenian composer who has lived in
Denmark since 1992. Clearly he has risen to the middle front ranks to
have come to the attention of Da capo. He has written more than 250
works including two symphonies, seven symphonic novellas and much else.
The Armenian National RSO are featured in the first
two works listed. The Nazar ballet recalls a modernist
take on Prokofiev's For the Love of Three Oranges. There is something
splendid, dissolute, exotic and acrimonious about this. Gestures spit
and slalom across the screen. This compares with the 'pocket' Concerto
for piano and string orchestra. It is under 13 minutes long - a
sterner work than the ballet taking a route via Schoenberg to Rachmaninov
to Nyman - listen to the entrancing stasis of the second movement. Shostakovich
puts in a guest appearance in the Golgotha 'jester' finale.
Those 'in the know' with electronic music will not
want to miss the three computer-featured works. Superpulse
tracks human life through from the distant heart-beat via hisses, alarm
clock noises, plinks, plunks, bells, buzzers, cymbals, rattles and marimbas.
This is all richly recorded. Success starts as a Schelomo-style
violin solo but soon the violin is duetting with the burbling and babbling
sounds of the computer. These are well contrived and it is a credit
to Ikilikian that the computer's voice seems to emulate the 'oudh' and
percussion instruments of North Africa. It is a tribute too that
the rhapsodic improvisatory nature of the music remains clear. An extremely
attractive piece. The plinks, harpsichord riffs, plunks, synth drum
rumbles and snarls of Crash are redeemed by the natural
voicing of Berthelsen's clarinets and by the rounded rhapsodic-dramatic
flightiness of Ikilikian's grand plan. Towards the end bird noises suggest
those recorded for Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus. There are hints
here that the composer is writing a series of mood pieces for solo instrument
each accompanied by computer - an analogue for Malcolm Arnold's works
for solo instrument.
Challenging computer works from Ikilikian's later 'menagerie'
and two more conventionally specified works though still tough enough